A list of 50 books may seem lengthy, but it won’t surprise book lovers that 50 wasn’t nearly enough to cover all the riches coming our way this autumn. The final cut, comprising a much-anticipated Bono memoir, a new graphic novel from Booker-longlisted Nick Drnaso, fresh offerings from Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Strout and Colm Tóibín, and much more, is as varied as it is mouth-watering. So, in no particular order…
Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono (Hutchinson Heinemann, November)
The first telling of the rock star’s story from his own perspective attempts to capture “what I’d previously only sketched in songs”. With each chapter named after a U2 song, Surrender chronicles Paul Hewson’s early life, the loss of his mother, his life in music and activism and much more.
Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood by Kit de Waal (Tinder Press, August)
The author of My Name is Leon and The Trick to Time brings a memoir of growing up mixed race in a strict Jehovah’s Witness family in 1960s and 1970s Birmingham.
The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan (Doubleday, August)
Four generations of women and the love and stories that bind them are at the centre of this sixth novel from the Booker-longlisted Tipperary author.
Haven by Emma Donoghue (Picador, August)
This story of three men in 7th-century Ireland discovering Skellig Michael promises to be an intense and captivating read from the author of Room and The Wonder.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Balantine, August)
Reid went from successful author to bestselling sensation when The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo blew up on BookTok. She is now a Gen-Z favourite, and her latest novel, about a tennis star’s emergence from retirement to reclaim her Grand Slam record, has all the hallmarks of a Reid hit.
Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley (Hodder & Stoughton, September)
Christie was a “scintillatingly modern woman” who loved fast cars, surfed in Hawaii and was interested in the new science of psychology. So why did she present herself as an Edwardian housewife? This is the central question in historian Lucy Worsley’s “authoritative and entertaining” biography of the acclaimed author.
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, August)
The prize-winning author of Hamnet focuses once again on the 1500s. Lucrezia, Duchess of Ferrara, is taken to an Italian country villa by her husband Alfonzo. As they sit down to dinner, it occurs to her that he intends to kill her.
Breaking by Amanda Cassidy (Canelo, October)
The disappearance of a child from a Florida Keys beach is the jumping off point for this debut crime novel by Irish journalist Amanda Cassidy. A trial by media ensues, centred on the bereaved mother.
Lessons by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape, September)
This wide-ranging novel from the author of Amsterdam and Atonement begins in a boarding school just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and takes us right through to the Covid pandemic. The story of one man’s “rootless existence”, it touches upon the Chernobyl disaster, the Suez and Cuban Missile crises, climate change and more.
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The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman (Viking, September)
The third book in the Thursday Murder Club series lands yet more trouble on its eccentric band of retirees. This time, the gang find themselves on the trail of two murders 10 years apart, and a new nemesis presents Elizabeth with a deadly mission: kill or be killed.
All the Broken Places by John Boyne (Doubleday, September)
The follow-up to Boyne’s phenomenally successful The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas tells of Bruno’s sister Gretel, aged 91, and a little boy who has moved into the apartment beneath hers. This will be closely watched for more reasons than one — the Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account advised in 2020 that The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas “should be avoided by anyone who studies or teaches about the history of the Holocaust”, but Boyne has assured his work is fable, not history.
Little Republics: The Story of Bungalow Bliss by Adrian Duncan (Lilliput, September)
The cultural impact of Bungalow Bliss — a 1971 manual of house designs enabling buyers to affordably build their own homes — is explored in this first work of non-fiction from the talented Longford novelist.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan (Hodder & Stoughton, November)
Picoult, the bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, teams with Boylan, a trans activist and author of 17 works of fiction and non-fiction, to create a novel about a woman who has fled an abusive marriage to take over a family beekeeping business, and her son, who is arrested on a charge of murdering his girlfriend.
The Other Guinness Girl: A Question of Honor by Emily Hourican (Hachette Ireland, September)
The third in the Guinness Girls series by author and journalist Emily Hourican follows Honor Guinness, cousin to sisters Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh. Her marriage to Henry Channon and her assimilation into London high society unfolds against the backdrop of the 1930s and the slide into World War II.
A Heart that Works by Rob Delaney (Hodder & Stoughton, October)
Many will know Delaney best as Sharon Horgan’s co-star in her Channel 4 comedy series, Catastrophe. He is also a writer and comedian, but in this memoir, it is the loss of his young son Henry to a brain tumour, and the things Delaney has learned in the process of grieving that take centre stage.
Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, October)
The inimitable Lucy Barton makes a welcome return, this time in lockdown with her ex-husband William in a house on the coast of Maine.
An Irish Atlantic Rainforest: A Personal Journey into the Magic of Rewilding by Eoghan Daltun (Hachette Ireland, October)
Daltun moved from Dublin to the Beara Peninsula in 2009, hoping to rewild a 73-acre farm he bought there. In this part-memoir, part environmental treatise, we watch a temperate rainforest flourish on the Irish coast and are asked to examine larger questions about climate breakdown.
The Road to Riverdance by Bill Whelan (Lilliput, October)
One of Ireland’s most famous and influential composers, Whelan has worked with U2, Van Morrison and Kate Bush, among others. His musical career and influences, leading up to his most famous work, Riverdance, are chronicled in this “richly braided” memoir.
Dickens and Prince by Nick Hornby (Viking, October)
Hornby dips into non-fiction in this study of two contrasting artists: Charles Dickens and Prince. It explores their genius and unorthodox lives, asking: how did they do what they did, and what effects did their relentless creativity have on their lives?
The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg (Allen Lane, October)
Climate activist Thunberg has brought together more than 100 leading experts from the fields of geophysics, mathematics, oceanography, meteorology, engineering, economics, psychology and philosophy to create this “essential tool” for understanding the climate crisis.
A Guest at the Feast by Colm Tóibín (Viking, November)
The latest from the laureate for Irish fiction is a collection of essays that range from personal memoir — including a reflection on his cancer diagnosis — to writing on religion, literature and politics.
Fourteen Days: An Unauthorised Gathering by Margaret Atwood (ed) (Vintage, November)
Authors including Celeste Ng, Emma Donoghue, Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood (who also acts as editor) have come together to create a polyphonic novel set in a Manhattan tenement during lockdown. Each author writes the story of a tenant, a group of which have begun to gather on the rooftop.
A Private Spy: The Letters of John le Carré 1945-2020 (Viking, October)
This collection of never-before-published letters from the late author and former intelligence agent spans almost eight decades. It includes correspondence with Alec Guinness, who starred in a TV adaptation of his Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy novel, and with a 10-year-old aspiring spy, plus letters to family and friends, covering a range of subjects.
Forever Home by Graham Norton (Coronet, September)
The chatshow host clearly caught the fiction-writing bug when he penned his first novel, Holding, in 2016. He has since written two more successful novels, and this, his fourth, tells of a much-scrutinised new relationship in a small Irish town. Gossip, illness and secrets from the past put everything under strain.
The Daughter of Auschwitz by Tova Friedman (Quercus, September)
One of the youngest people to have survived Auschwitz recounts what she lived through, the atrocities she witnessed, and the story of a family torn apart and reunited. Written in conjunction with former war reporter Malcolm Brabant, this book is an attempt to preserve a story in danger of fading from memory.
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Little, Brown, October)
The third novel from the author of Little Fires Everywhere is a dystopian tale set in an America whose laws to preserve “American culture” allow authorities to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin. We follow 12-year-old Bird’s quest to find his lost Chinese-American mother.
Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard (Corvus, August)
The author of 56 Days, which won Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, brings a “blockbuster” thriller that takes place on the set of a psychological horror movie being filmed in West Cork.
Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton, September)
A teenage boy with a troubled home life, a dog with a reclusive master who lives in a big house at the top of the hill, and a portal to another world — the latest from the king of horror is billed as “magnificent and terrifying”.
Desert Star by Michael Connelly (Orion, November)
In Connelly’s new René Ballard and Henry Bosch thriller, the pair team up to investigate a case involving a family that has been murdered by a psychopath who walks free.
Web of Lies: The Lure and Danger of Conspiracy Theories by Aoife Gallagher (Gill, October)
The analyst at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue examines the rising threat of far-right extremist thought in Ireland and abroad, and demonstrates the ways in which we are all susceptible to disinformation and radicalisation.
Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World by Pádraig Ó Tuama (Canongate, October)
Poets including Lemn Sissay, Rainer Maria Rilke, Margaret Atwood, Ocean Vuong and more feature in this book of immersive poetry, based on Pádraig Ó Tuama’s Poetry Unbound podcast. Each poem is accompanied by commentary and personal anecdote.
The Moderator: Inside Facebook’s Dirty Work in Ireland by Chris Gray (Gill, November)
Gray once worked as a moderator for Facebook, reviewing graphically violent images and toxic debates. Having been diagnosed with PTSD, here he recounts his quest to hold his former employer to account and explores some of the most pressing questions about social media and mental health.
Time and Tide by Charlie Bird with Ray Burke (HarperCollins, October)
The well-loved RTÉ broadcaster was last year diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Written over the course of 2022 with friend and journalist Ray Burke, this memoir reflects on the 72-year-old’s long career through the lens of his diagnosis and contemplates life’s deeper questions.
Kellie by Kellie Harrington with Roddy Doyle (Sandycove, October)
From trying to convince her local all-male boxing club to let her join to her development into an elite boxer, the Olympic champion puts her story to paper with help from Roddy Doyle, whose sports writing chops were proven when he co-authored Roy Keane’s bestselling The Second Half.
Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry (Headline, November)
The man who played Chandler Bing in the most successful sitcom of all time, Friends, has penned an “honest” and “hilarious” memoir that delves into his struggles with addiction while seemingly “having it all”.
Going Back by Eugene O’Brien (Gill, September)
A sequel to his RTÉ series, Pure Mule, O’Brien’s debut novel follows Scobie Donoghue, returned from Australia after a break-up, about to turn 40 and back in his childhood home.
The Madness: A Farewell to War by Fergal Keane (William Collins, October)
Last year, BBC foreign correspondent Fergal Keane announced he was stepping back from his role on the frontline due to PTSD. This book draws on his experience to take a broader look at trauma, the reasons why some suffer, and others remain unscathed.
Listen to the Land Speak: A Journey into the Wisdom of What Lies Beneath Us by Manchán Magan (Gill, October)
In his latest book, the author of the bestselling Thirty-Two Words for Field journeys through bogs, across rivers and over mountains to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors who lived in a society deeply connected to the land.
All This Happened, More or Less by Jayne A Quan (Skein, August)
Quan’s debut collection of essays explores memory, trauma, death and love through the lens of their transition, which coincided with the death of their 10-year-old brother. What identity means, and how it shaped Quan’s relationships to others, including their now-wife is also central.
The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy (Picador, October)
Now aged 89, the prize-winning author of The Road and No Country For Old Men brings a tale of a salvage diver haunted by loss in the 1980s American South. The novel will be followed up in November with a coda novel, Stella Maris (Picador), told through the device of psychiatric transcripts of the sister of our salvage diver.
Courting: Tractor Dates, Macra Babies and Swiping Right in Rural Ireland by Liadán Hynes (New Island, October)
Journalist, author and podcaster Hynes has travelled around Ireland, gathering interviews with people in family farms, tiny islands, village pubs, remote communities, and more, to tell the story of dating in rural Ireland today.
There’s Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan (Head of Zeus, September)
A young woman who goes missing and her family’s attempts to understand what happened are at the centre of this debut novel from Ryan, granddaughter of novelist and short story writer Mary Lavin.
Acting Class by Nick Drnaso (Granta, August)
Drnaso’s Sabrina was the first graphic novel to be longlisted for the Booker Prize. His follow-up, Acting Class, brings 10 strangers together for lessons under the tutelage of a morally questionable leader.
The Night Interns by Austin Duffy (Granta, August)
Duffy, author and practising oncologist, has penned a novel about three surgical interns on a night shift, and their induction into bodily realities, bizarre instruments of healing and dysfunctional hierarchies.
Pacemaker by David Toms (Banshee, September)
The first book of creative non-fiction by Waterford poet Toms captures a life lived in tandem with a rare heart condition. Toms explores heartbreak, both metaphorical and literal, and what it means to live in a fragile yet resilient body.
Show Your Work: Essays from the Dublin Review by Brendan Barrington (ed) (Dublin Review, September)
For the past 22 years, the Dublin Review literary magazine has showcased the work of up-and-coming and established writers, with a special focus on the essay form. In this anthology, editor Brendan Barrington gathers a brilliant selection of these essays, including work from Kevin Barry, Anne Enright, Sally Rooney, Roisin Kiberd and more.
The Singularities by John Banville (Knopf, October)
Nostalgia, life, death and quantum theory meet in this novel which sees Banville, aka Benjamin Black, head back to his literary fiction roots. Narrated by one of the Greek gods and featuring the return of one of the author’s “most celebrated characters”, it is sure to sate the appetite of Banville enthusiasts.
Where I End by Sophie White (Tramp, October)
White’s sixth book, and second outing with Tramp Press, following the successful Corpsing, is a horror novel centred on teenager, Aoileann, her bed-bound mother and a family newly resident on the island that Aoileann has never left.
Chased by Pandas by Dan Martin (Quercus, October)
Following his retirement at the end of 2021, the 35-year-old cyclist and nephew to Stephen Roche tells his life story on the racing circuit: from discipline and dreams to dealing with weaknesses and dark feelings. Written with friend and author Pierre Carrey, it records the brave and tough journey of “one of road cycling’s last romantics”.
Cells: Memories for My Mother by Gavin McCrea (Scribe, November)
In this work of creative non-fiction, McCrea returns home to care for his 80-year-old mother, whose mind is slowly slipping away. Quarantined in a small south Dublin flat, he is supposed to be writing a novel, but finds he can only write about her.
Ryan comes from literary stock — her late mother, Caroline Walsh, a well-known literary editor; her father, James Ryan, a writer; and her grandmother, Mary Lavin, an esteemed author. She has said writing her debut novel There’s Been a Little Incident was an “act of hope” following her mother’s death. Having worked in creative industries in the UK for many years, she now works in policy development for the Arts Council of Ireland.
Cassidy is a freelance journalist and former Sky News reporter who has been shortlisted for Irish Journalist of the Year and the Headline Voice Media awards. She turns her experience to fiction with debut crime novel Breaking, which examines how the spotlight of the media can scrutinise and at times vilify women.
Jayne A Quan
Quan grew up off the coast of California, has worked as a photographer in New York and is a graduate of the MA in creative writing at University College Dublin. They are a queer, transmasculine, non-binary, Asian American, poet and creative non-fiction writer, whose work has appeared in Banshee literary journal. Their essay collection All This Happened, More or Less is out next month.
O’Brien’s critically acclaimed RTÉ drama Pure Mule won five Ifta awards. It was inspired by his play, Eden, which won him the Rooney Prize, and was performed in the Abbey, the West End and Off-Broadway. Clearly adept at moving between forms, he uses his debut novel, Going Back, to continue the Pure Mule story, started over a decade ago.
Since he started publishing in 2012, Ryan has twice been longlisted for the Booker, won four Irish Book Awards and received countless other accolades. Despite his achievements, he is famously down-to-earth and his writing has remained tender and empathetic, qualities in evidence in his next novel The Queen of Dirt Island. He also teaches in creative writing at the University of Limerick.
O’Farrell hails from Northern Ireland, but grew up in Wales and Scotland. She has published eight novels and a memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am, which outlines 17 near-death experiences. Her most recent novel, Hamnet, was a runaway success, and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, having been curiously absent from the Booker longlist. Those who enjoyed it will be keenly anticipating her latest, The Marriage Portrait, which evokes the Italian Renaissance “in all its beauty and brutality”.
Maine author Strout has been writing since she was a child but didn’t publish her first book until she was 42, and didn’t find mainstream success until her 2008 novel Olive Kitteridge won the Pulitzer Prize. These days, Strout’s recurring central characters, Olive Kitteridge and Lucy Barton, are just as well loved as the author herself. Two of the Lucy Barton books, My Name is Lucy Barton (2016), and Oh William! (2021), have received a Booker longlisting, meaning its hard not to salivate over her return in Lucy by the Sea.
A writer of great intelligence and range, McEwan has written two short story collections and an astounding 17 novels, including Atonement, On Chesil Beach and The Children Act. A public intellectual, his more recent novels have delved into issues such as artificial intelligence (Machines Like Me, 2019) and Brexit (The Cockroach, 2019). His latest novel, Lessons, is an ambitious “chronicle of our times”.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/the-50-hottest-books-coming-out-this-autumn-41889890.html The 50 hottest books coming out this autumn